Better Makers: New Trier Gala Raises $120,000 and Celebrates the 2022 Inductees into the Alumni Hall of Honor

On March 11, the New Trier Educational Foundation hosted its annual gala at the Renaissance Chicago North Shore Hotel in support of New Trier High School, in Northbrook. Parents, alumni, faculty, and staff within the school’s community gathered to both raise funds for program grants and to honor the 2022 inductees into the school’s prestigious Alumni Hall of Honor. This year’s honorees join an esteemed list of previously honored alumni, including Rainn Wilson, Donald Rumsfeld, Scott Turow and Rahm Emanuel.

Photo courtesy of Stuart-Rodgers, New Trier High School.

The foundation was established 21 years ago to provide monetary support for educational opportunities and special projects at the high school either not covered or partially covered by the District 203 budget. The $120,000 raised from the gala will be applied to the foundation’s 203 grants program, funding initiatives that support the entire student experience and include core academics, electives, extracurricular activities, the arts and athletics. 

Several of those grant programs were seen in action when the New Trier Kinesis Dance Company kicked off the gala evening with a surprise performance in the reception hall during the cocktail hour. As the doors opened to the banquet hall, the New Trier String Quartet played on the dance floor as guests found their way to their tables. One-of-a-kind vases created by art students graced the banquet tables with flower arrangements as centerpieces; while other art students supplied sets of building blocks for guests to create temporary model structures. 

gala berstein
Young Alumnus honoree Chad Bernstein, Class of 2002, co-founder of Guitars Over Guns, giving a heartfelt tribute to his parents. Photo courtesy of Lia Fahs, New Trier High School.

After opening remarks from Superintendent Dr. Paul Sally and Foundation Board Chair Scott Fowkes (’81), Emcee Richard Laible introduced the nine distinguished New Trier High School alumni joining the hall of honor list. Amongst the honorees: the CEO of Nike, a Grammy-winning record producer, a Hollywood actor, a policymaker in public broadcasting and real-estate trailblazer. The group also included young alumnus honoree Chad Bernstein, co-founder of Guitars Over Guns, a Miami-based nonprofit that creates safe spaces for youth to express themselves through music.

Photo courtesy of Stuart-Rodgers, New Trier High School.

“Each time we honor a new class of alumni honorees, I look forward to hearing about the impact a New Trier education had on their lives after graduation,” said Dr. Sally. “So often we hear honorees speak fondly about individual teachers, coaches, and staff members who encouraged and supported their future goals. These stories remind us that today, the words and actions of our compassionate and caring faculty and staff are influencing future leaders.”

The New Trier Kinesis Dance Company kicked off the evening with a surprise performance in the reception hall. Photo courtesy of Stuart-Rodgers, New Trier High School.

Sponsor support for the gala came from several alumni, including new hall of fame inductees John Donahoe and Sharon Percy Rockefeller. Cashman Stahler Group, the architecture firm for New Trier’s Winnetka campus renovations, also provided sponsor backing

Fun facts:

  • John Hughes’ film, Sixteen Candles, was shot at New Trier High School in 1984. 
  • Make It Better Media Group’s founder, Susan B. Noyes, founded the Hall of Honor in collaboration with New Trier school leadership when she was a member of the Board of Education and a liaison to the foundation. She was also integral in several other programs which connected alumni and potential sponsors to the opportunities to support it.

View the honorees

Donna Berry Glass

Donna Berry Glass is a freelance writer in Marin County who writes mostly about family and kid-oriented topics. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her family exploring the natural beauty of Marin, snuggling with her Cavalier King Charles spaniel while reading a good book or whipping up something delicious in her space-challenged kitchen. Donna is a supporter of the California Academy of Sciences, a world class science museum and research institution, and the Institute on Aging which provides much needed services to seniors and disabled individuals.

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